I am writing this month’s piece from the lanai, or terrace, of our cottage in Kaanapali, Maui. My family and I had the opportunity to travel here for two weeks on business. As we boarded the plane at LAX, and buckled our daughter, Capri, 4 into her car seat, the flight attendant announced that the cabin door had been closed, and we were cleared for takeoff. My son Cruz, 2, sitting in my lap, took one look at me and decided that we were invading far too much of one another’s personal space, and that just wouldn’t do. After 2 hours of screaming, back arching and hair pulling (me pulling my own), we finally managed to get him to sleep, much to the appreciation of the, shall I say, mildly annoyed passengers around us.
As we sat in the dark, breathing sighs of relief and gratitude, I began reflecting on the many projects, trips and adventures we have had, living on the road, building wind farms. It all started back in the fall of 2008.We landed a construction project, performing a scope of work we had never done, and really had no idea how we were going to do it. Originally, we thought we were going for a couple of weeks. Two weeks into the trip, we realized that wasn’t the case. My father-in-law brought our motorhome out to us, so we wouldn’t have to stay in a hotel, eating out three meals a day. Capri was six months old then, and we thought we’d be better suited in our Mini-Winnie, with all the comforts of home. We loved motorhome life, even after we ran out of propane in the middle of the night, twice, and woke up seeing our own breath.
Capri was a natural, right from the start. In fact, she probably should have been on the payroll. We would drive to work before sun-up, each morning, Capri nestled into her car seat fast asleep. Our job trailer was so small that her porta-crib and walker took up most of the room. Looking back, I don’t know how we got away with having our baby on a construction site. Our bosses and people from other companies would come in throughout the day to hold Capri, saying they needed their daily “baby fix.” She was so accommodating and outgoing with everyone. I think her innocence softened the edges of a very manly world, filled with dirt, grease, stress and deadlines. She learned to sit up in her porta-crib in that trailer, and started crawling in our motorhome. She took her first steps in a hotel room, in Palm Springs, while working on another wind farm.
We’ve traveled all over the country working on projects. One time, a job that we thought would last 3 months, in Utah, turned into a six-month journey as we finished that project and had to head north to the Midwest. We had to buy an entire new wardrobe, because we went from summer, through fall and into winter without ever going home.
Our daughter was conceived in Italy, so we named her Capri. Our son Cruz was conceived while living in Beaver, Utah, working on a project in Milford, so needless to say, the name Cruz had a bit more appeal.
The last project we lived on was in Minot, North Dakota. I was 8 months pregnant and had a two year-old in tow. The whole time, Capri was the ultimate roadie. Wherever we were going, she was coming too. We were 50 miles south of the Canadian border smack in the middle of winter. Did I mention I was 8 months pregnant? We were the only company who had a heated porta-potty on the project. Let me tell you, I was pretty popular. After that project, my husband and I agreed that it was time to hang up my hat as Project Manager. We would visit our motley crew of gypsies from time to time, but would no longer be a permanent member of our traveling road show. That was, of course, until we secured our first Hawaiian wind project. We both looked at each other and said, “Well, maybe one more.” Then this summer, we found ourselves with projects in Vermont and New Hampshire. We had both visited the East Coast, but never spent a substantial amount of time there, so we thought, “Why not?” We headed east on another adventure with both kiddos again. Visiting family and friends, gorging on plates of Maine lobster, soaked in butter, for $10 a piece. Now we find ourselves back in Hawaii, breathing in the scent of plumerias, watching whales breach and teaching our little ones to say, “Shaka Bra.”
We’ve been blessed to watch firework displays over the Great Basin, and spot a moose walking across the road in the International Peace Garden. We’ve climbed wind turbines that looked out over the Pacific Ocean, and slid down slides in the Boston Common. But there’s still nothing like coming home to Tehachapi, looking into the face of our loyal pup, Banjo, kissing our pony Bob Marley’s muzzle, and warming up in front of the fire. We are grateful for these opportunities and experiences, but it sure feels good to get back home again.